It is an intrinsic human impulse to gaze into the face of another – to engage, explore and read the inner story of the person next to us. Within the shapes and hues of eyes, the lines and tones of skin, the curve of lip and the furrow of brow, we are able to gain an understanding of someone else’s identity, emotions and needs.
Since the earliest records of art making Portraiture has remained a central pursuit for artists. Like portals into another person’s world view, portraits function as a means of preserving ideas of love, belief, power and longing. They also reveal the profound distance of time and the deep closeness that arcs through humanity. Whether created from a need for political record-keeping, to harness personal vanity or simply as a technical exercise in observation, the portrait is a universal and enduring subject.
In Your Face presents a selection of FLG artists for whom the portrait holds a particular fascination. Taking us into worlds as diverse as the domestic, the urban, the youthful, or the classical, each artist offers us their own unique interpretation of that special gaze.
Janne Kearney’s paintings ask the viewer to disregard preconceived judgements of people, society and, at times, even reality. Each painting invites us to contemplate life within the margins. The young people she depicts are beautiful, tattooed, and surrounded by motifs of urban reality like broken glass or cyclone wire. In other works her bright graffiti and street tagging give way to an almost psychedelic experience of a youth generation.
Dagmar Cyrulla’s works reveal the very intimate experience of self-reflection. Full of gestural strokes and patchy details these works capture something of the multi-faceted quality of catching a glimpse of oneself in the mirror. A mix of curiosity and honesty reside in her brush work, both asking and affirming within that moment of having a good, hard look at oneself.
Eolo Paul Bottaro’s practice strongly references the styles and techniques of the Renaissance, creating portraits that would feel at home in the time of Titian. Full of symbolism and rich colouration, both his portraits of friends and of himself transport the sitter into an evocative and intriguing, dream like narrative.
Rebecca Hastings is best known for her depictions of her children, painting mise-en-scenes that explore child play, but also cause us to question what the future will hold for those currently wide-eyed innocents. Through her use of bright colour and humorous props Hastings subversively reinforces the stark questions that lie ahead for her subjects.
Claire Bridge paints with exquisite detail, often exploring notions of gender, connectedness, and self-determination via her sensual nudes and theatrical portraits. The body becomes a vessel for the contemplation of humanity in a broader environmental and metaphysical context.
Kathrin Longhurst’s glassy images are dazzling in their retrained perfection. Influenced by her upbringing in communist East Germany, her portraits possess a hyper-real quality akin to the propaganda poster. Her subjects stare confidently out past the viewer, skin luminous, and eyes full of light and watery reflection, beautiful and yet also full of some sad knowledge.
Using a mix of whim, sentiment, humour and honesty each of the works presented in In Your Face seeks to explore our natural fascination with faces and in turn offer us an opportunity to perhaps look at ourselves and those around us with fresh eyes.